The Society of Independent Brewers now has more than 800 UK breweries signed up to the trade organisation and has set itself a target of a further 20% growth over the next year.
During 2014, 100 independent brewers joined SIBA. Members are located across the UK from Scotland to Cornwall, and range in size from microbrewers producing fewer than 1,000 hectolitres (176,000 pints) per year through to regional brewers with an output of up to 200,000 hectolitres (35,200,000 pints)– the limit for full brewer membership.
SIBA managing director Mike Benner said, “With 800 members, SIBA represents more than half of the estimated 1,400 brewers in the UK. Over recent years, SIBA has become a more effective and high-profile organisation, thanks in large part to our successful lobbying for the three cuts in beer duty, which have benefited every brewer in the land. This, along with our BeerX event celebrating British beer, has led to a wider appreciation of the benefits of belonging to SIBA and an upturn in recruitment.
“As part of our first Strategic Plan, unveiled last month, we are looking to grow our brewer membership by 20% over the next 12 months. To achieve this, we are reviewing and improving our services to existing members and developing initiatives to attract new ones.”
Tony Jerome joined SIBA earlier this year in the new role of Director of Communications & Membership and is currently looking at the entire SIBA membership offer, not just to full brewer members, but also the 250+ supplier associates and handful of brewer associates producing more than 200,000 hectolitres per annum. He is also investigating new membership categories for the organisation so it can truly become the ‘voice of British brewing’
Cathedral Heights Brewery, near Lincoln, became SIBA’s 800th full brewing member when they joined in March this year. Steve Marston (pictured left), who founded the brewery with wife Sammi, said, “We’ve grown from small beginnings in 2011 to a more sizeable operation now, and have ambitions to grow further. Joining SIBA will help us to realise those ambitions, by providing help and guidance in a number of areas such as cask recovery, legal and brewing advice.
“Through SIBA’s DDS service, we hope to get our beers into a number of local pubs that have been closed to us. We’re also keen to enter their beer competitions, as having a SIBA award gives your beers a point of difference and helps secure new distribution, and we’re interested to see how they can help us with our plans to start exporting.”